GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Two days in, and the Green Bay Packers still haven’t drafted an inside linebacker. They used their third-round pick, No. 88 overall, on outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell of Utah State to wrap up the second day of the draft.
My take: General manager Ted Thompson is apparently confident in Sam Barrington and Jake Ryan as his starting inside linebackers. Or maybe this inside linebacker class did nothing for him. Either way, Thompson ignored what was one the Packers’ biggest perceived needs. He did help the defense with two of his first three picks, including UCLA defensive tackle Kenny Clark in the first round and now Fackrell. One of the best things about the 6-foot-5, 245-pound Fackrell is that he already has experience playing in a 3-4 defense at Utah State. His sack numbers -- 12 in three-plus seasons -- don’t jump off the page, but it’s not like the Packers are looking for someone to come in right away and get double-digit sacks as a rookie. It’s a good sign that Fackrell appeared to come back strong from a torn ACL in the 2014 season opener. He started all 13 games as a senior last year.
No more Neal: The selection of Fackrell likely means the end of Mike Neal's tenure in Green Bay, something the veteran free agent outside linebacker acknowledged on Twitter shortly after the third round ended on Friday. Neal has made free-agent visits to Detroit and Seattle but remains unsigned.
Old man Kyler: After taking a couple of youngsters -- Clark is 20 and second-round pick Jason Spriggs is 21 -- the Packers went to the other end of the spectrum with Fackrell, who will turn 25 midway through his rookie season. That didn't concern Thompson. "We take things like that into account, but not a lot," Thompson said. "We took a guy yesterday who was, like, 19. But it wasn’t on purpose." Fackrell is married with a 2-year-old daughter, Delaney.
Utah State pipeline: The only two Utah State players drafted in the first two days went back to back. Fackrell went one pick after the Bengals took his former teammate, inside linebacker Nick Vigil. “It is funny that we went [87 and 88],” Fackrell said.
What’s next: The Packers head into day three of the draft with four picks: two in the fourth round (Nos. 131 and 137, both compensatory picks that cannot be traded), one in the fifth (No. 163) and one in the sixth (No. 200). If Thompson doesn’t make any additional trades, they will have seven picks total in this draft.